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Date Posted: 03:25:07 08/01/17 Tue
Author: Stooge
Subject: Ryan Phillippe / Ke$ha - April 17, 2010 (S35 E19)
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - August 2017" on 02:13:46 08/01/17 Tue

Here's the original review I posted back when this episode first aired. This has got to be one of the most negative SNL reviews I have EVER written; I was especially brutal during the first half of it. This was when my ire for the 09-10 season reached its boiling point. Also, this review is a bit infamous: on the other, now-defunct SNL board, this review of mine was apparently SO harsh that it garnered a shitload of complaints from posters there, who gave me crap about being "too negative" and that I need to "just sit back and enjoy the show", etc. Most of the people who wrote that were the typical SNL apologists - you know the kind: the type of SNL fans that get all pissy if a fan overly-criticizes the show, even if it's constructive criticism like I usually try to offer. I would later suffer a similar backlash on that board with my review of the following season's Bryan Cranston episode, in which I was just as brutal as I was in this Phillipe review.

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RATINGS SYSTEM
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?


Cold Opening - Larry King Live
• Standard Larry King stuff. There was nothing really special or new here.
• I used to find Kristen’s Bjork impression funny and also cute, but like everything else Kristen does, it’s gotten tired. Her appearance tonight was pointless and she wasn’t given any good dialogue to work with. And was that song/poem she sang at the end even supposed to be funny? Not even the studio audience laughed at the song a single time. I can only hope this is a sign that the audience is beginning to share my ire towards Kristen.
• Bill’s Richard Branson was funny as usual, though, and the only watchable thing in this cold opening.
• I’m so tired of Fred getting to say “Live from New York...” every single week. Couldn’t they have given it to Bill this time for once? Fred seriously has said LFNY in 80% of this season’s episodes.
Stars: **


Monologue - Ryan Phillippe
• For someone like me who hates how overly recurring-heavy SNL has been this season, this monologue was pure torture, especially when it started with Target Lady of all characters. The funny thing is, I read some online comments people made as this monologue was airing and some people were saying this could be a good thing that SNL’s getting their recurring characters out of the way in the monologue, so hopefully the rest of this episode will be recurring-free. Well, as we know now, that’s the exact OPPOSITE of what ended up happening...
• Andy’s appearance as the Dick in a Box guy especially bothered me. Similar to how fellow SNL reviewer Shaq Plaque (I think) complained about Kenan’s appearance as Reba in Taylor Lautner’s monologue coming off as masturbatory for SNL, the Dick in a Box reference here seemed way too self-congratulatory, especially with Andy mentioning how big an internet sensation that short was. Yeah, we get it, Andy. Didn’t we just see SNL already shamelessly pat themselves on the back for that short a few days ago in the “SNL in the 2000s” Kenneth Bowser documentary?
• And the “What Up With That” number at the end? Ugh... SNL is trying so damn hard to force that sketch into the pop culture consciousness. At this point, I can’t even laugh at Jason’s wacky dancing anymore; the whole “What Up With That” thing has been beaten to death.
• And does anyone else notice that Kenan now seems to blatantly sing “What’S Up With That” instead of “What Up With That” like the show’s titled?
Stars: *

[2017 UPDATE: In Kenan's defense over that last nitpick of mine, that happens sometimes with castmembers. For example, after doing a couple of Brian Fellow's Safari Planet installments, Tracy Morgan started saying his "I'm Brian Fellow!" catchphrase as "I'm Brian FellowS!" and it ended up sticking. When people imitate that catchphrase, some say it with the 's' at the end of the name, even though his last name is just Fellow.]


Commercial - Broadview Security
• Rerun... from just a mere two episodes ago. C’mon, SNL, if you’re going to re-air a commercial, at least show one from the beginning of the season that hasn’t been repeated yet.


Sketch - ESPN Classic
• Oh, don’t even get me started on this...
• First off, this is the FIFTH appearance of this ESPN Classic sketch this season. Five appearances in one season! Hell, SIX if you count the Sports Extra special. This is absolutely ridiculous! I can’t remember the last recurring character/sketch SNL used more than four times in a single season.
• And this sketch is the exact same thing every single time! If you’re going to use a sketch five times in one season, at least make it one that isn’t a one-note copy-and-paste recurring sketch like this. All they change is the name of the feminine hygiene product sponsoring the show, nothing else. Just like how Jason’s dancing in What Up With That is now ruined for me, I can’t even chuckle at his usually-funny delivery of the hygiene product slogans anymore. How many times are the writers going to have Jason do this same thing?
• And thirdly, they usually only do this sketch if a female is hosting since the competing athletes in these sketches are always female, but now they actually went through the trouble of putting Ryan Phillippe IN FUCKING DRAG just to bring this stupid recycled sketch back?! Are you fucking kidding me, SNL?!
Stars: *


Sketch - Hip Hop Kids
• Oh, this has GOT to be a joke. So now we’re bringing back a sketch from 2006??? It’s official, the current SNL writing staff has absolutely no creativity left. Just nothing left at all. This is depressing.
• Just to show you how long it’s been since the last Hip Hop Kids sketch and how many castmembers have left since then, Kenan and Jason’s characters were the only ones from the first installment with Justin Timberlake that were still in tonight’s version. Kristen was in both installments, but her character tonight had a different name and a different wig, and she didn’t wear glasses in the first one like she did tonight.
• It was completely unexpected and unnecessary to bring this sketch back. Tonight’s installment was terrible and barely contained any laughs at all.
• Wow, Abby Elliott canNOT play urban/ghetto characters to save her life. That was the worst attempt at a wigger voice I’ve heard since Ellen Page in that Virginiaca sketch from a few years ago. Nasim or even Jenny probably would’ve been more convincing in Abby’s role.
• Jason was the only person in this whole sketch that made me laugh, especially when he came back to life briefly just to say “You got served, yo”. However, I couldn’t help but notice he used the exact same dance moves he usually does in What Up With That. Maybe I wouldn’t have been bothered by that if we didn’t see What Up With That just MINUTES AGO IN THIS SAME EPISODE. Geez.
Stars: *½


Digital Short - The Other Man
• Wow, what the hell was this mess? This was some seriously unfunny comedy. And didn’t the Lonely Island already use this same basic plot in a digital short from earlier this season, where Andy kept appearing on a toilet everywhere Fred went? At least that short was kinda funny; this one got old fast and was completely predictable. The ending was especially stupid.
• You usually can depend on the Digital Shorts to save a bad episode like tonights, but not even the Lonely Island could come through. In fact, the Digital Shorts have really been in a slump lately, starting with Flags of the World (I don’t count the awesome “Zach Drops By the Set” film as a digital short, in case anyone was going to point that one out). “Sergio” from the Jon Hamm episode was the last truly funny, memorable short so far. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Hamm episode also happens to be the last really good episode in general SNL has produced so far.
• I guess one positive thing I can say about this short is that Nasim looked great as always.
Stars: *


Sketch - Mort Mort Feingold, Accountant for the Stars
• Well, finally, we have an original non-recurring sketch for the first time all night. However, this sketch still fell flat and barely had any good moments. Wow, tonight’s episode is absolutely HORRIBLE so far.
• Andy’s performance as this character was fine, but the problem was the material: the writing here was just weak and most of the celebrity impression walk-ons came off as dull and were too quick to really enhance the sketch. I laughed at just the set-up of the Mel Gibson bit, but the result of the scene should’ve been much funnier than it turned out. That was all the writers could do?
• Remember the days when Kristen used to be good at doing impressions? Her Kate Gosselin tonight sucked; it wasn’t even an impression, it was basically just Kristen in a wig (no pun intended). Even Taylor Swift was able to pull off a more-convincing Kate Gosselin impression earlier this season.
• Speaking of which, I just realized this sketch actually contained two impressions that Taylor Swift originally did when she hosted: Kate Gosselin and Kristen Stewart... and Taylor did both impressions better than the castmembers who played them tonight. That's just sad... Taylor Swift's not even a comedian or an actress and she was still able to outshine two castmembers (Wiig and Slate).
• Bobby as Susan Boyle gave me a big laugh at first (I can’t believe this is the first time SNL has parodied her, by the way) and his voice/accent was good, but even that scene ended on a weak note.
Stars: **


Commercial - The Shake Weight Commercial DVD
• Now THIS was funny; the first truly humorous segment of the night.
• I laughed my ass off at this Shake Weight parody, especially the scene with Bobby watching with his kids, Kristen holding both Shake Weights near her mouth with her tongue hanging out (yep, I’m actually saying something positive involving Kristen Wiig) along with all the guys saying she’s in on it and Bill confirming that she indeed is, and the size of Bill’s arm at the end. Everything in this commercial worked perfectly.
• If you know me, you know I also loved the quick Three Stooges mention.
• And if you REALLY know me, you know I also loved seeing Abby and Nasim using the Shake Weights. Yes, I’m a perv.
Stars: ****


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring James Carville, Father Swimcoach Scoutmaster, Anthony Crispino
• Best jokes: Bret Michaels, Trampoline
• Another weak night for Seth, as most of his jokes were either completely forgettable or fell flat. He’s getting worse and worse by the week. And did you notice how very few jokes there were in between the guest commentaries? It seemed like every time a guest commentary was finished, Seth would tell just one or two jokes, then already he would introduce yet another guest.
• I usually enjoy Bill’s James Carville commentaries more than some other people do, but even I groaned a little when he showed up tonight. By this point of the episode, I was very tired of all the recurring material so far, so this didn’t exactly help. And Bill didn’t have anywhere near as many funny and clever lines tonight as he usually has when he plays Carville. I was pretty hard-pressed to find any real laughs here; I guess the baby-scaring bit was okay.
• As soon as Seth said the name “Father Swimcoach Scoutmaster”, I knew that meant Forte would show up. Will Forte is the SNL King of playing creepy, perverted, sex offender-type characters. He killed as usual in this segment, especially him doing that one sexual motion with his fingers, and him eagerly asking “Where’s Justin Bieber?” then angrily storming off when Seth answered “He was here LAST week”.
• Bobby sure plays a lot of Italians on Weekend Update, doesn’t he?
• Anyway, I enjoyed Bobby’s second-hand news commentary. The script could’ve used better writing, but Bobby made it funny with his delivery and his constant looking around the set in paranoia. And for some reason, him saying the name of his cousin “Fat Vanessa” made me laugh out loud for about 20 seconds straight. No idea why, but just something about the name “Fat Vanessa” tickled the hell out of me. Hey, in an episode with very few laughs like tonight’s, you have to point out little moments like this.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Song Memories
• And I see SNL is back to continuing tonight’s theme of “All unoriginal recycled recurring sketches, all night long”.
• They haven’t done this sketch since the Bradley Cooper episode over a year ago, and I remember that installment being pretty weak. But tonight’s was probably the worst Song Memories sketch yet. ALL of the stories this time had lame or predictable endings. The Tiger Woods one especially made me groan. Like SNL hasn’t already run Tiger Woods sex references into the ground enough as it is...
• And am I crazy, or did Jason already tell that same “coma patient” story before? I swear I remember his character telling a story with that same punchline; I’m pretty sure it was the installment with Ashton Kutcher in ‘08.
• And that tea party ending was just stupid. Topical, but still stupid and unfunny. Come to think of it, probably the only funny ending these Memories sketches ever had was the one in the Paul Rudd installment where Jason shoots Bill’s character by accident and his blood goes all over the back window of the car.
Stars: *


Sketch - Teen Talk
• As soon as I saw the opening sequence with still photos of Abby as the host, I KNEW this would be a follow-up to the Woman-to-Woman sketch from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt episode and they would show Fred’s guest host character sitting in the chair again.
• I loved the first Woman-to-Woman sketch and I feel it was one of Fred’s few great sketches this season that he had the lead role in. But this wasn’t as funny the second time around, and I already predicted 70% of Fred’s lines right before he said them. And the last thing tonight’s episode needed was yet ANOTHER copy-and-paste recurring sketch. Even for 09-10 standards, this episode is insane.
• That being said, Fred’s performance in this second installment was still okay. Tonight’s sketch started out very weak, but his lines got slightly funnier as this sketch went along. And one or two of his facial expressions cracked me up.
• I know it was only a bit role, but Kristen Wiig playing a 15 year old??? Oh, please! At least give that role to Jenny; she’s used to having bit roles where she only appears for 5 seconds anyway.
• My biggest laugh in this sketch actually came from Andy. His voice was priceless, as well as the embarrassing question he asked.
Stars: **


Sketch - I Got This!
• Well, this was an original non-recurring sketch at least, so that’s certainly nice.
• The premise wasn’t too good, but this featured a scene with Jason and Will each having an intense screaming fit, which saved it. They’re the two best “angry shouters” of this current cast by far. Sudeikis reminds me of Will Ferrell whenever he plays a character who yells loudly, angrily, and scarily - which is definitely a good thing. And of course, Forte’s insane purple-faced screaming is one of his trademarks and is always priceless.
• The ending was lame, though, and fell completely flat. And what was with Bill’s facial expression at the end? As the sketch ended, Bill’s smile quickly faded and he looked downwards with a pissed expression on his face; I get the feeling that wasn’t part of the sketch since his character had no reason to be upset.
Stars: **½


Sketch - Underground Rock Minute
• So even THIS is a recurring sketch now? I’m absolutely speechless.
• Actually, despite my surprise at this being brought back and my frustration over there being YET ANOTHER damn recurring sketch tonight, this particular one turned out to be good, at least compared to the rest of this weak episode. For one thing, this wasn’t a carbon copy of the last Kickspit Underground Rock Festival ad; they actually did something completely different with the set-up and with Jason and Nasim’s characters. And secondly, the music video they showed was very funny. I especially loved Bobby in that, he was awesome. Did the Lonely Island direct that video? It looked like something they’d do. That was better than the actual Digital Short we got tonight.
• However, I became confused when I realized that Bobby was supposed to be playing Ass Dan again. I was like “Didn’t Ass Dan die in the last Underground Rock Festival ad, and they showed ‘Ass Dan: 1981-2009’?” Then towards the end of this one, they showed “Ass Dan: 1981-2010”, followed by Jason and Nasim mentioning that he died while that video was being shown. That made me confused as hell, but I laughed a lot anyway. Then they showed the “in memoriam” graphic for Jason’s character suddenly at the very end and I laughed even more.
• Earlier this week, there was a thread on this board where someone mentioned that Nasim has the most breakout potential of all the female featured players (I agree, by the way) and that person also said she already has several characters that could potentially be made recurring, including Lil Blaster. At the time, I laughed and thought to myself “How in the world could Lil Blaster become a recurring character? I doubt they’ll ever do any kind of follow-up to the Kickspit Underground Rock Festival ad”. Looks like I was proven wrong.
• Also, Nasim is even cuter than usual whenever she plays Lil Blaster. Say what you will about Nasim, but she is one of the true bright spots in this dull season of SNL.
Stars: ****

[2017 UPDATE: Out of the whole series of Kickspit Underground bits, this ended up being the only time where it was a live sketch instead of a pre-taped ad. This one had Jason and Nasim's characters hosting an MTV-type music show where they introduced a music video starring Bobby (as his Ass Dan character) and Ryan Phillippe both playing Insane Clown Posse-type performers, in what was supposedly a parody of an actual then-newly released music video from Insane Clown Posse.
Also, so much for Nasim's so-called "breakout potential". I and a lot of others had so much hope for her back then. Sure, she ended up lasting the longest out of all the female featured players this season, but five seasons still ain't much to brag about and she barely made any real impact on the show during those five seasons. How many casual SNL fans today can remember ANYTHING she did? I'm beginning to think the only reason I and a lot of others were so impressed with her in her first year and considered her one of the "true bright spots" of the troubled 09-10 season may just be because she came off good compared to a lot of the mediocrity around her - especially in the female featured player cast (in particular, fellow newbie Jenny Slate's utter failure as an SNL player made Nasim shine like a diamond by comparison). The following season when the show's writing got a little better (with emphasis on "a little"), and Nasim suddenly found herself surrounded by better and more memorable newbie featured players in Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, etc., we gradually started becoming less and less impressed with her, which continued for the remainder of her tenure, culminating in her final season where she annoyed a lot of us with many bad new characters like that Indiana Jones Universal Studios sketch from the Drake episode. Looking back at these reviews from her first season, it's hard for me to believe there was actually a time I considered her one of the brightest spots of the cast.]


_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Underground Rock Minute
• The Shake Weight Commercial DVD
• Father Swimcoach Scoutmaster on Weekend Update
• Jason and Will’s angry yelling in I Got This

Episode Lowlights:
• ESPN Classic
• Monologue
• Song Memories
• Digital Short
• Hip Hop Kids
• Larry King Live
• many parts of Weekend Update
• the ending of I Got This

Best Performer of the Night:
• Jason Sudeikis / Will Forte / Bobby Moynihan


FINAL THOUGHTS
*sigh* 09-10 does it once again with yet another lame episode filled almost entirely with stale one-note recurring sketches. Tonight truly stands out as one of the most disappointing episodes of the season so far, which is really saying something since the second half of 09-10 has been FILLED with disappointing episodes. Up until the final ten minutes, I barely laughed tonight. That terrible first half of the show in particular was almost entirely laughless, minus the Shake Weight parody. That and the final Underground Rock Minute sketch were the only things saving this episode from being down there with the January Jones show as this season's unfunniest episode. Also, I don’t usually ever mention the musical guests in my reviews, but both of Ke$ha’s bizarre absolute trainwreck of a musical performance held my attention a lot more than 80% of the actual sketches tonight. That is not good.

Even though I wasn’t as crazy about last week’s Tina Fey episode like some others on this forum were, at least that episode had no recurring sketches and they tried some original material. I had hopes that maybe that episode was the start of a small step in the right direction for the rest of this season, which is why tonight’s episode with SNL going back to rehashing old crap for the entire 90 minutes was doubly disappointing.

09-10 is becoming more and more of a joke; the declining quality of the writing this year is really getting depressing. Thank God there are only three episodes left. Usually, I feel pretty sad whenever SNL reaches the end of each season, but in 09-10’s case, I’m actually almost looking forward to this season ending. Lorne needs to do a serious revamp of the writing staff over the summer or else, as I’ve said numerous times, next season will turn out to be truly horrible, no doubt about it. There needs to be a couple of changes made to the cast as well, no question - but that's not the main issue right now as much as the writing is. It doesn't matter what next season's cast will be like; they're not going to come off looking good if the writing's gonna be shitty. Quality-wise, the show right now in early 2010 is pretty much in the exact same place they were in early 1994, and I’d really hate to see this upcoming fall emulate what happened in fall 1994.


CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Larry King, Monologue, Digital Short, Shake Weight, Teen Talk)
FORTE: 6 sketches (ESPN Classic, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, Update, Memories, I Got This)
HADER: 7 sketches (Larry King, Digital Short, Shake Weight, Update, Memories, Teen Talk, I Got This)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
SAMBERG: 6 sketches (Monologue, Hip Hop Kids, Digital Short, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, Teen Talk)
SUDEIKIS: 7 sketches (Monologue, ESPN Classic, Hip Hop Kids, Mort Mort Feingold, Memories, I Got This, Rock Minute)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Monologue, Hip Hop Kids, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight)
WIIG: 9 sketches (Larry King, Monologue, ESPN Classic, Hip Hop Kids, Digital Short, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, Teen Talk, I Got This)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Hip Hop Kids, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, Teen Talk)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Digital Short, Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, Update, Rock Minute)
PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Digital Short, Shake Weight, Teen Talk, Rock Minute)
SLATE: 3 sketches (Mort Mort Feingold, Shake Weight, I Got This)

RYAN PHILLIPPE: 9 sketches (Monologue, ESPN Classic, Hip Hop Kids, Digital Short, Mort Mort Feingold, Memories, Teen Talk, I Got This, Rock Minute)

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